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51 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:

    “Larry Norman was a very complex man”

    Larry was a friend of mine and stayed in my home on a number of occasions. My bandmate, Michael, occasionally was a roadie for him. He was complex. I’m reading this biography and, thus far, I think it is a pretty balanced view. Well worth the time…

  2. bob1 says:

    Duane: Glad to hear your comments on the book.

    i’ve ordered it from Amazon and really looking forward to reading it!

    Here’s my Larry recollections:

    — Saw him perform at Explo ’72 with Love Song in what wasn’t an official Explo
    event, I guess. Also saw him wow the post-concert crowd — quite the showman!

    — Heard a pastor who was trying to get him to our area for a concert say how
    expensive a concert was.

    — As a High school teen with a recent “born again” experience, heard Larry’s
    “Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation” on the local Xn station and was so excited
    to hear something religious enfleshed in a rock tune.

    He was unique I believe, one of a kind.

  3. ( |o )====::: says:

    “The perils of Christian rock…”

  4. ( |o )====::: says:

    We need JesusJazz

  5. Josh the Baptist says:

    Duane, Larry Norman is another artist I never cared for 🙂

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    Just good music… ANY GENRE!

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    #5 Josh

    Oddly, apart from two particular albums, he was better live than on record. He had an almost unbelievable ability to “hold the stage”. I was talking a while back with John Michael Talbot about a concert we sponsored with Larry, with the The Talbot Brothers as the opening act. John said he never saw a performer hold an audience in the palm of his hand like Larry – before or since… He was something.

  8. ( |o )====::: says:

    “Holding the stage” is about being a performer and connecting with an audience.
    Then, there’s quality of music, a whole other thing.


  9. Duane Arnold says:


    Indeed. I’d watch Larry do it with an out of tune guitar, missing chords, etc. It was performance and, dare I say it, ‘charisma’…

  10. Muff Potter says:

    In my opinion, good music is good music.
    Devil, sinner, or saintly label has little if anything to do with it.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I was never impressed with Larry Norman and even less so today as I would classify his songs more Jesus People message than a scriptural Christian message – perhaps that is why he could hold a crowd..

  12. Duane Arnold says:


    Ever hear him or meet him?

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why would you ask if I ever heard him? I just gave my opinion of what I heard.

    Have I met him? No, would that matter? I have never met President Trump but I have formed some pretty accurate opinions as I am sure you have.

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    Accurate? Maybe yes, maybe no…

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Fine, I withdraw my assessment that you have made some accurate assessments.

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    Very strange…

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I find it strange that you can’t accept that someone has a musical opinion different than yours. Strange.

  18. John 20:29 says:

    Speaking of matters strange, this thread has gone strange. ?

  19. If Larry Norman was a complex man, couldn’t that be said about Skip Heitzig and the host of Calvary Chapel pastors excoriated here?

    Would the “But he’s such a good teacher” line that seems to excuse a multitude of sins apply to a skilled musician as well?

    Larry was extremely gifted, but at the same time seemed to be quite a scoundrel.

  20. Michael says:

    Last time I checked there weren’t biblical standards for musicians.

    Why the hell is it so damn difficult to deal with the fact that a rogue pastor can do harm that others can’t?

    There are more days than not when I wonder if the whole faith is a bill of goods I’ve sold myself…

  21. What different standards exist for the pastor and the Christian, evangelistic musician?

    I wonder if that’s the struggle Larry had in his mind. Some days he was an evangelist, others just a musician.

    For me, Larry’s behavior was below the basic expectations for a follower of Jesus.

    I am a big fan of his music. But over time I just couldn’t remain a fan of his person.

  22. Michael says:


    Larry Norman wasn’t an elder in a local church.

    There are standards for them…do you need the references?

  23. Larry wasn’t an elder, but he was a person who positioned himself as a public representative of the Gospel.

    My post wasn’t meant to stir the pot. I just had connections to people in the music biz and Larry often left them scratching their heads. He was certainly his own man.

    His actions could have been from mental illness or the brain injury he claimed.

  24. And, I don’t judge Larry’s salvation. And even his rewards will be determined by God, not me.

    He was just one guy who wore out the welcome for many.

  25. Michael says:


    Are there standards for elders or not?
    You came on, took your shot, and now we need some clarity whether you think the standards for elders apply to itinerant musicians.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    #21 PH

    I know of the many things brought up about Larry following his death. My interactions with him dated from an earlier period – 70s and early 80s. I can, however, say this – many of the things in in the documentary were inaccurate and several people interviewed felt that their comments were misrepresented through editing in which numerous other relevant comments were left on the “cutting room floor”. As a result, many participants later regretted their participation. This is not something I’ve heard about, this is something I know from one on one conversations.

    All that being said, I think Larry was a flawed person, like all of us, with the exception that he was under a spotlight… one that he actively sought. Nevertheless, I remember him as a friend and as someone who changed the face of Christian music in his time. Artists like Larry or Johnny Cash or Bono or Frank Black walk a tightrope and often, it seems to me, stumble. I can appreciate their artistry nonetheless…

  27. Scooter Jones says:

    I met Larry Norman in his home when I lived in the Salem area years ago.

    I don’t remember the occasion and he was nice enough. However, it was quite obvious to me something wasn’t quite right. My initial reaction was that drugs of some sort had taken it’s toll.

    Like some, I never did connect with his style of music and often wondered if there was something wrong with me because I didn’t and everyone else around me did 🙂

  28. Scooter Jones says:

    In case anyone is interested, here’s a link to Larry Norman’s headstone and some interesting tidbits.

  29. Ah, Michael, I wasn’t meaning to fire a shot. I asked a question. Larry was no elder, but highly public. And Larry “preached” quite a bit.

    The heart of my point was anyone who is out there for the cause of Jesus has to at least keep basic standards.

    None of us are perfect, and truth be told, I try to keep a lot of room for someone to be human. Many Christian music artists are expected to be perfect saints.

  30. Scooter Jones says:

    Okay, I had to dig deep into my memory bank about why I had been in Larry’s home ;-).

    I had gotten to know Terry Talbot (a little) who was also living in Salem at the time. We were out together and he stopped by to visit with Larry.

    Duane, remember The Mason Proffit Band?

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    #27 Scooter

    After his heart attacks, things were not really right with him…

  32. Scooter Jones says:

    Duane, I’m sure the physical effects were traumatic.

  33. Duane Arnold says:

    #30 Scooter

    From Indiana… I’ve been friends with John Michael for over forty years. We’re usually in touch weekly…

  34. Scooter Jones says:

    I figured you knew them. You seem to be very well connected on many levels 🙂

  35. Duane Arnold says:

    #34 Scooter

    Not connected… just old!

  36. I think for me, i’ve sought to make sure in my life that I don’t defend the indefensible. In my younger years I caught myself sticking up for certain public persons based on their gifts and talents, turning a blind eye to severe character issues. That bit me too many times.

    I don’t know attributed his Churchill quote to Larry, but it seems to fit: He was a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

  37. Duane Arnold says:


    The quote is perfect…

  38. Scooter, that may be the first time I’ve seen a gravestone with a mailbox next to it.

    I was fairly imbedded in the So Cal Christian music scene from late 70s to mid 90’s. And Larry was primarily the reason it existed.

    Almost no one is entirely bad or good. Glad for Duane and others who got to see a better side of Larry.

  39. And interesting that LN’s gravestone says EVANGELIST, not ROCK MUSICIAN.

  40. Michael says:

    I didn’t know Larry Norman, nor have I a taste for his music.
    I could condemn him outright for writing that damn Rapture song…

    Back when this controversy started we had people tell us stories good and bad…he’s a “footnote” to a lot of people both ways.

    My interest is in him as a historical figure…and those depths have yet to be fully plumbed.

    The musicians powered the Jesus Movement and he was the Elvis of the group…and that group has effected evangelicalism in ways few have yet to note.

  41. Scooter Jones says:

    “I could condemn him outright for writing that damn Rapture song…”

    “…A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold…”

  42. Duane Arnold says:

    Permit me some nostalgia…
    The first time we brought Larry in (and I first met him) it was on the basis of his album ‘Upon This Rock’. We were expecting a Donny Osmond with blown dried blond hair. He turns up… all in black, hair down to the middle of his back. Not what was expected. ‘Only Visiting This Planet’ had not been recorded or released. Larry takes the stage solo and breaks into ‘Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music’ as his first song. No one had ever heard something like this. People are shocked, mesmerized. He reaches the line “… but they should’ve known you can’t keep a good man down” and 500 kids stood up and started clapping and cheering. Michael is dead right… Elvis. Everything changed in Christian music… good and bad.

  43. Duane, I can’t help see some comparisons of Larry Norman to Ziggy Stardust.

    Thanks for sharing.

  44. Duane Arnold says:

    #43 PH


  45. pstrmike says:

    Interesting observations about Norman. Just my own experience, he wasn’t much of an influence in most of my circles. We lived closed to CCCM and were caught up what was happening there with Maranatha Music.

  46. John 20:29 says:

    To finish the inscription on the gravemarker, it reads “Evangelist without portfolio”

    That could interpreted as not officially sent by God… Does anyone know what was intended?

  47. Perhaps it could be said that, depending on where you cross paths with someone, you will either see them as an angel, a demon, or somewhere in between.

  48. Duane Arnold says:

    #46 Em

    Originally it was to say “Blood Stained Evangelist”… interesting

  49. Michael says:

    My tombstone will say “THE KING OF OREGON” … I wouldn’t read too much into that…

  50. John 20:29 says:

    hmmm, Dr. Duane….
    What if all Christians’ markers read, “blood stained?”
    When our son passed my husband wanted his marker to read “a son of God” – the cemetery didn’t like that, thinking it would be offensive. They got a little lesson in the Faith
    Michael, …. how about “a son of the King of Oregon and all points beyond.” ?

    my ashes will go to a National cemetery where my husband’s are kept… It already reads “a son of God” … the government had no problem with that… I don’t think i get a comment … No problem, i’m not there anyway (unless we get raptured out before the wrath of God hits here – sorry to offend those not planning on that) … ?

  51. Duane Arnold says:


    For those interested, NPR is running a story on the book and Larry on “All Things Considered”, Sunday pm…

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